I read with despair the article by Chris Wheal on travel insurance (Features, 18 January). This has to be one of the worst journalistic pieces in a professional publication I have ever seen.

What utter rubbish to suggest that the whole UK travel insurance market is systematically providing a sub-standard service, "exploiting" policyholders and is run by cowboys.

Mr Wheal starts by suggesting that it is the insurance companies fault that up to one in five holidaymakers travels uninsured because he does not think he will have his claims paid. This is nonsense; the principal reasons are ignorance of the need for travel insurance and a belief that the EHIC provides adequate cover.

He then goes on to say that "despite very low claims rates for travel insurance, virtually every claim is rebutted".

He clearly has no claims data or experience of travel claims payments to substantiate such a ridiculous sweeping statement. To say that virtually every claim is rebutted is slanderous and extremely damaging to a vital service that deserves more respect from someone who should know better.

I say this without knowing what Mr Wheal's credentials are but I assume he has some given the space Insurance Times gave him to voice his ill-informed views. Millions of pounds are paid out every year in valid travel claims, to the relief and gratitude of the policyholders unlucky enough to have suffered a loss.

He goes on to state that travel insurers have been subject to 1,787 complaints, up from 1,525 the previous year. I wouldn't dispute that this is too many. In a perfect world there would be none, but put it in perspective - 45 million trips are made abroad each year, and if four out of five were insured, that is 36 million policies, which equates to a complaint rate of about 1 in 20,000 holidays.

It is right to question whether or not the delivery of travel insurance to the market via travel agents is in the customer's best interests and, indeed, if adequate advice is being provided at the point of sale.

But I cannot agree that the situation with regards to claims settlements is as dire as Mr Wheal suggests. If it were, the number of complaints would surely be substantially higher.

Russell Dadson, Director, Snowcard Insurance Services